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Lesbian among new SFPD station heads

by Seth Hemmelgarn

A lesbian is among the new captains assigned to head San Francisco Police Department districts that are in neighborhoods popular with LGBT residents.

Una Bailey, who once headed the LGBT police officers Pride Alliance, recently took over Park Station, which oversees the Haight-Ashbury and other neighborhoods. She replaces Captain John Sanford, who's been assigned to the Community Engagement Division.

Mission Station, which covers the Castro and other neighborhoods, is now being headed by Captain Gaetano Caltagirone. That post had been held by Captain William Griffin, who's moved to the Special Operations Bureau/Urban Areas Security Initiative.

In the Tenderloin, which is known for drug dealing and other crimes and is home to some of the city's poorest residents, Captain Carl Fabbri is replacing lesbian cop Teresa Ewins, who's now commander of the Muni Task Force.

Station captains are typically rotated every couple of years, so the moves generally weren't surprising.

Bailey, 55, who started at Park Station October 21, said from what she's seen so far, the biggest challenges there are homelessness and vehicle break-ins.

She said she'd ensure police do "as much outreach as possible" and work with different agencies to encourage homeless people "to take shelter that's available and to try and get them housed. That's our first priority."

Station officials will also look at what's been done to address auto break-ins and take "whatever measures we can to make it more effective," said Bailey.

One problem area has been Twin Peaks. Bailey said that after Sanford assigned an officer to watch over the area, there was "a major reduction in vehicle break-ins, so we'll continue with that as long as we can."

Bailey encourages people to work with police as much as they can.

"Community involvement is the solution to what's going on in your neighborhood," she said.

Among other posts, Bailey, who's been with the SFPD since 2001, previously served as the captain of the Special Victims Unit, which includes sex abuse, domestic violence, and human trafficking. Her salary is approximately $200,000.

Community meetings at Park Station, 1899 Waller Street, are the third Monday of every month.

Fabbri, 48, who took over Tenderloin Station October 21, said the biggest challenge in the district is the range of problems that can easily be seen on a walk through the neighborhood, including drug dealing and use and other quality of life crimes, along with homelessness.

Residents "have been dealing with it for a long time," he said. "It's reached a point where they want something done."

Fabbri said, "The top of the list is the drug dealing and all the behavior that comes along with drug dealing," which includes people being intimidated as they walk through the neighborhood.

Efforts will include longer-term police operations that extend outside San Francisco into cities where the dealers come from, letting "the courts know just how much of an impact these people are having on that neighborhood" and encouraging stay away orders, and working with the district attorney's office to make sure the courts understand "how important those stay away orders are to us," said Fabbri.

Crime in the Tenderloin drew increased attention in September when gay artist Anthony "Bubbles" Torres, 44, was fatally shot on Larkin Street near the New Century Theatre strip club and gay Gangway bar, in an area popular with drug dealers. There haven't been any arrests in the case.

Around the time of the shooting, some people in the neighborhood said they'd like to see more police patrols.

Fabbri, who hadn't yet been briefed on Torres' killing, said a top priority is to "make sure we are deploying our officers the best we can," at the "right times and right places where they're going to have the most impact. There will definitely be some changes in the way we deploy our officers."

It's clear to him why people want more patrols.

"They want to see the officers out there on the block," he said. "... They want to know the name of their beat cop." Fabbri plans to soon launch "a liaison program so the community does have that go-to person at the station."

Fabbri, who's been with the SFPD for 23 years, has previously been assigned to the Tenderloin, started the department's Crime Analysis Unit, and served as the agency's liaison to the San Francisco Unified School District, among other posts. His salary is $209,300.

Community meetings at Tenderloin Station, 301 Eddy Street, are the last Tuesday of the month.

Caltagirone, the Mission Station captain, didn't respond to interview requests, but he's expected to appear at the Thursday, November 2 meeting of the Castro Merchants group. The meeting is set for 9 a.m. at Eureka Valley Recreation Center, 100 Collingwood Street.


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